Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has freed nine Saudi prisoners of war in exchange for 100 Yemenis as a “humanitarian” move, a year after Riyadh started its deadly aggression against the impoverished nation.
“A first step of understanding and respect for the humanitarian aspect [of the conflict] was the exchange of prisoners today,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said in a statement on Saturday, adding the freed Saudi forces had been captured in some fronts in Yemen.
Earlier in the day, a US airstrike in the Yemen’s southern coastal Abyan province reportedly killed 14 men suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda terrorist group. The aerial raid destroyed a government intelligence headquarters in the provincial capital Zinjibar, which had fallen in the hands of terrorists.
The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has taken advantage of the chaos and the breakdown of security to tighten its grip on parts of southeast Yemen.
On Saturday, thousands of Yemeni people gathered at Saba’een Square of the capital Sana’a to denounce the Saudi military campaign that has killed about 8,500 people, among them over 2,000 children, since March 26, 2015.
The war on Yemen started in a bid to bring the fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh, back to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.